Ready or Not, Here Comes Cloud...

By John O’Shaughnessy, Infrastructure Architect and Senior Consultant

Most organizations are in the throes of some form of digital transformation. The common thread among them? Their desire to embrace the better parts of emerging cloud architectures — whether that be in the form of private clouds, public clouds, or a hybrid mix between the two. 

For a few, this might stem from a directive to go “all in” with public cloud services in order to meet an aggressive, pre-set timeline. For others, this means following a more methodical set of steps to lead their organizations from where they are now to where they want to be.

Insight Cloud + Data Center Transformation (CDCT) has worked successfully with both types of organizations and has learned a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to cloud. Some of this guidance appears in the guide, “5 Steps to a Successful Cloud Journey.” 

We’ll cover a few highlights here, which relate to two key questions:
  1. How cloud-ready is your organization?
  2. How cloud-ready are your application workloads?

Assessing Organizational Cloud-Readiness

We find it very important to put on your detective hat (or ask us to put on ours) before you attempt to move specific workloads to the cloud. This may not always be possible (especially if you have a bunch of workloads in the cloud already). 

But, wherever you are in the cloud journey, it’s a good idea to seek detailed answers to basic questions such as:

  • How do we currently control and manage our IT costs? How will this translate to cloud?
  • How is the business currently using its applications?
  • What skills or training might be needed to support new cloud roles?
These are just a few of the questions we recommend asking at this stage. The guide offers more. Answers to these questions become your organization’s own, fact-finding mission to learn what you are currently doing in terms of IT operations, current processes, and roles. 

Is this really necessary? Recent research we’ve conducted indicates that a lot of confusion and cloud missteps can occur when organizations leapfrog this fact-finding and planning phase. Even more critically, surveys report a good portion of cloud workloads are moved back to their prior, on-premises environment after organizations experienced unexpected cost spikes, unanticipated complexity, or security challenges with their data in a public cloud. Such moves may be prevented by performing due diligence early on in the decision-making process.

Assessing Cloud-Readiness of Your Application Workloads

IT organizational readiness for cloud is one thing. But the sleuthing doesn’t stop there. To really make the right match with applications and the cloud, we suggest doing the same type of detective work on your application workloads as well.

Here, Insight distinguishes between applications and application workloads. In the guide, we define a workload as follows:

“A workload represents an application and any upstream or downstream dependencies an application requires to operate successfully.”

By this definition, a workload can include dependent compute, network, storage, databases, and interconnected applications. 

Similar to analyzing organizational cloud-readiness, you’ll want to ask foundational questions about your application workloads such as: 

  • How much does this application workload cost to run?
  • How much data from this application will need to traverse to/from a cloud environment? 
  • Once migrated to cloud, how much will it cost to move this data from point A to point B?
Doing this legwork before moving workloads to a cloud environment is similar to what we help clients accomplish during data center migrations. And, guess what? That’s what you are doing, right? If you are moving to a public or, even, private cloud architecture, you are migrating workloads. 

Why is this necessary? According to an Insight-commissioned IDG survey on the subject, only 42%, on average, of an organization’s current applications are optimized to support cloud storage consumption.

Again, these are just a few of the questions you should consider regarding the cloud-readiness of your organization and its workloads. Not all workloads may be ready today. But there are still specific steps you can take to identify and prioritize the right moves to reach cloud success.

Why not take a few minutes now and scan some of the other guidance offered in the guide, “5 Steps to a Successful Cloud Journey”? Or, if you have a specific question about how best to move to cloud, reach out to us today and let us know how we might be of help.